Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Families and Other Nonreturnable Gifts” as Want to Read:
Families and Other Nonreturnable Gifts
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Families and Other Nonreturnable Gifts

3.59  ·  Rating Details  ·  419 Ratings  ·  60 Reviews
Despite her name, Keats Sedlak is the sanest person in her large, nutty family of brilliant eccentrics. Her parents, both brainy academics, are barely capable of looking after themselves, let alone anyone else, and her two uber-intelligent siblings live on their own planets.

At least she can count on one person in her life, her devoted boyfriend Tom. Down-to-earth and lovi
ebook, 0 pages
Published September 1st 2011 by 5 Spot
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Families and Other Nonreturnable Gifts, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Families and Other Nonreturnable Gifts

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,407)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Nov 03, 2011 Pam rated it liked it
Keats Sedlak is living a content, comfortable life. She is living in an apartment with her boyfriend of ten years and has a not so challenging job as an office manager. However, she is the oddball in her family, the normal one to say the least. Her brother, Milton, hasn't left their mother's house for two years. Her sister, Hopkins, is a genius, and she is currently saving lives as a neurologist. Her father, also a genius, is a published author and a professor at Harvard. Lastly, her mother driv ...more
Hélène Louise
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Keats Sedlak isn't exactly living the dream. But her life is comfortable, undemanding. She has a nice apartment she shares with her boyfriend of ten years and a decent but unexciting job. She believes she has exactly what she wants and no more than she deserves. Family drama abounds and her comfortable unexciting life insulates her from some of it. The rest of it.. well.. nobody's life is perfect.
To say her family is eccentric is a kind understatement. Two siblings,an over-achieving selfish do
Heidi Brydon
Oct 18, 2011 Heidi Brydon rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Some novels will leave you with piles of dirty laundry and unwashed dishes as you ignore everything you should be doing to just keep on reading. This is that kind of novel. I'm a huge fan of this author, and this is one of her best books yet, on a par with the novel that first caught my attention "Same As it Never Was". Her dialogue is so real that you feel more like you are spying on these people rather than reading about them.

Like many, I too have a ridiculous, crazy family. Not cute TV crazy,
Sep 18, 2011 Jessica rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: books-i-own
This was the first book I've ever read by Claire LaZebnik and I really enjoyed it! Keats was a really likable person and you really felt for her when she had to deal with her crazy, dysfunctional family. When I first realized that Tom and Keats had a huge age difference and they had started dating when she was 15, I was a little creeped out, but it really worked with the story. I really hated Hopkins but I loved Milton, so LaZebnik did a great job developing her characters and defining who they ...more
Kelly Moran
Sep 11, 2012 Kelly Moran rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: my-reviews
Keats Sedlak has always felt inferior amid her brilliant family, and the only sane member. With a steady boyfriend and job, she's constantly being called back home to help the family. Now, her mother is filing for divorce and putting the house up for sale, her brother won't leave his bedroom, her genius sister refuses to come home and help, her father's health is slipping, and... she's starting to question her own life choices throughout it all.

In one night, I read this start to finish. I was th
Sep 15, 2012 Angel rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I special requested this book from my local library. I read up to page 70 and then skimmed until the last several chapters.

I was highly disappointed in the book. I did not care for the first person narrative. I was irritated by the family in general. The author did not connect me to any of the characters in such a way that I cared about what happened to any of them. And, to me the story was too predictable.

This was a real "miss" for me.
Sep 06, 2011 michelle rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
i hadn't read a book in almost a month and i'm pretty sure it was because i was waiting for this one to come out. even though somehow i didn't even know it was coming out. maybe i was too excited by epic fail. or maybe my head was in the clouds. either way, i'm so happy right now. i might even shed a tear or two of joy. maybe.

oh and the book is fantastic.
Mar 18, 2012 Jessica rated it it was ok
Shelves: chick-lit
Wasn't impressed with this book. The characters weren't interesting...I feel like the author wants you to dislike them. By the time I was halfway through, I didn't care what happened to the characters...I just wanted to hurry up and finish the book.

Actually, I rather enjoyed this book. It was well-written, funny, sad, pretty much everything you could want in a contemporary-style book. I knew right from the start that Jacob had a crush on Keats, simply because of the way they interacted and the way she seemed oblivious to his adoration. Later on she admits she's known about it forever, but I never got that feeling. Oh well.

Getting to know her sister Hopkins via phone and e-m
Shelley Daugherty
Dec 09, 2015 Shelley Daugherty rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
This book was such a pleasant surprise! I don't know that I have ever read quite an honest depiction of a dysfunctional family! (and aren't they all at some point?) I could not put this down.

Keats is basically the child who everyone can count on because she is always there. She stayed close to home, and is not considered a genius, like her sister who is neurologist, or her brother that hasn't left the house in two years (but is oh so smart). Even though her family drives her crazy she is still
Jun 16, 2012 gille rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiftyfiftyme
Families and Other Nonreturnable Gifts is a great title. It kind of ends there. The premise is really good - Keats Sedlak is the only average member in her family of intellects and geniuses. She is in a regular relationship with a regular guy, and they've been together for 10 years. Her family is comprised of crazy people who lack social skills. This could have been really funny or really moving or really good. It was none of those things. The chapters were very formulaic - each one ended with a ...more
Cocktails and Books
Jun 14, 2013 Cocktails and Books rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: cnb-reviewers
I really enjoyed this book. It reminded me a bit of Running with Scissors--at least the "crazy family" part!

This family has a redeeming member though and that is Keats--the middle child. She is bright, just not a super-genius like the rest of her family members. She, however, has social, organizational and other skills that help her navigate society more successfully.

When her parents decide (rather, her mom decides) to divorce, Keats is the one who has to take care of the family, the house, etc.
Jun 14, 2012 Georgette rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
What a neat little book.
A quick read, a funny book, and more than anything- you give a crap about these characters. Not only did I identify with the characters, but I'm convinced someone stepped into my life and somehow thought up Keats, the lead character in the book.
I haven't read many books lately where I give a crap about the characters.
Keats is the underachiever of the family. She's the daughter who just graduated with normal grades, she has a normal job, she has a stable(ie-boring as hell
Dec 21, 2011 Nicole rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Not bad, not bad.
I particularly liked the intimate part, which came suddenly and unexpectedly but was very well written, and I actually found myself feeling like I was in her shoes, and being very emotionally torn and scared right along with her. I love a book that can pull me in like that. And very few actually ever DO.

The rest was riddled with humor, which I also like.

The storyline kept me wanting to come back for more, even after every night when I put the book down to go to bed...the next da
Marguerite Kaye
Jun 07, 2012 Marguerite Kaye rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was an unexpected pleasure. I picked it up in the library looking for some fluff, and though it was light=-hearted, it was more than that. In lots of ways it reminded me of one of my favourite authors, Ann Tyler. Not quite so well-written (but then hardly anyone writes prose like Tyler does) and not quite so subtle, but it had that same gentle observation, that insightful look into family dynamics that typifies Tyler and which I absolutely love.

From the blurb on this book, I took it to be
Danella Shea
Feb 20, 2012 Danella Shea rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"It is a truth universally acknowledged that a young woman of independent means and moderate disposition will, upon returning to her ancestral home for a visit of any length of time, suddenly come face-to-face with the realization that her family is totally bat-shit crazy."

As the sane one in my family, I was immediately drawn to the character of Keats. Although she is the 'sane' one in the family, that certainly does not intimate that she isn't severely flawed. However those flaws served to make
Mary Gramlich
Aug 16, 2011 Mary Gramlich rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
09/11- Grand Central Publishing - Paperback, 304 pages

Is our personality determined due to birth order?

We all play a specific role in family dynamics whether we admit to it or not. Surviving the landscape of competitive family relationships, overcoming disappointment and jealousy is like walking on a minefield. You are placed by birth order in a position to control, submit, surrender, or dominate and some accept this as destiny while other
Sep 01, 2011 Lisarenee rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
They say every family has a black sheep, but in some families it's not the black sheep that stands out, it's the white one. Such is the case for Keats Sedlak. She's the only white sheep in the flock. Her family is full of geniuses who tend to be a touch eccentric and/or reclusive. As Keats' father is fond of saying, "It's a fine line between madness and genius."

Keats, named after the poet of the same name, is the middle child of three. She's been in the same relationship with Tom for 10 years.
Jan 23, 2015 Emily rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a little scattered and somewhat cheesy. I wasn't looking for a serious read. It does question what is normal and sometimes the change we want in others is really a change we need to make in ourselves. However, there is some inconsistencies that get in the way which is funny because the main character is an editor. One of the "supportive" people in her life is more of a controlling jerk. What is up with these parents letting their 15 year old date a 20 year old? This age gap is marketed t ...more
Chuck Schwager
Sep 28, 2011 Chuck Schwager rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I have noted that Claire's other novels echo, in a way, Jane Austin. With this novel she moves on to Anthony Trollope, at least to my inner eye. There is a lot of interior dialogue within Keats as she tried to sort out her life. We become privy to her inner thoughts as well as her actions and this what reminds me so much of Trollope.

As with Trollope, Austen and other greats, it is not the plot that matters. The story is compelling, but what really works on the reader is the subtle psychological
Dee Toomey
I was really enjoying this book and thinking I really have to read more of LaZebnik, when BAM!!! half-way or further in the book, sudden explicit sex. It would have sufficed for me to just read "they made out" or "they had sex" but no...the book has to get explicit with too much detail. But by this point, I was so into the actual storyline that I had to finish the book. The actual story I would have given 4 stars, but because of the "raunch", I lowered my rating to 2 stars.
Sierra Bailey
Admittedly, I could’t remember much of this one. I have read at least two of her other books though and although none of them really stand out in my memory, they’re good reads. I think I wanted something lighter after reading accounts of animal slaughter. It was perfect for that.
Dec 23, 2015 Miranda rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
A cute and light read with some heavy overtones but I found the main character - Keats - to be a bit insufferable. And it seemed she used the other characters to justify her actions, especially at the end in regards to her sister, and to how she treats pretty much everyone.
Madison Greer
A really good book but it was such a light and quick read... Or maybe the story was that good... Maybe I should rate it 4 stars instead... I enjoyed the story though and the characters, and thought a lot of my own family.
Aug 31, 2011 Felicia rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The first thing that caught my attentoin was the title. I laughed out loud and decided sure why not give it a shot. I ended up really liking this book. I was a quick read but good none the less. The lead character really is what does it for me, she's witty and very relatable. Trying to hold her own in a family of not so sympathetic people, she struggles to figure out herself. Thinking that she knows whats right, she has been at odds with her family for years. Life changing events happen and all ...more
Mar 03, 2016 Karina rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Really cute book, i liked the way it ended although I wish it would have been a bit different. I like the characters, and the moral of the story
Jan 10, 2015 Ashley rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Though the book ended well it was difficult to actually get into this book. There were multiple times when I was ready to put it down permanently but I don't like leaving things unfinished. Also if you are not comfortable with sex scenes don't read this book.
Tanya Merchant
I won this book in a Goodreads giveaway--and the title alone made me eager to read it. I truly enjoyed the story, and found it to be a quick read. I cared about the main character, Keats, and rooted for her to dump her stifling boyfriend, Tom. I especially loved the interaction between Keats and the rest of her "crazy" family. (As a seriously geeky English teacher--British literature--I wholeheartedly appreciate the Sedlak children's names). My only complaint about the novel is that I think it w ...more
Apr 17, 2015 Danielle rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, tbr-box-2015
Keats, the middle child between brilliant Hopkins and shut-in (but also brilliant) Milton, is an intelligent, funny, and relatable protagonist. I enjoyed the family dynamic and the Jacob dynamic. =) LaZebnik's characters are believable and believably flawed. It's easy to become engrossed in this entertaining story. Sometimes the psychology is over-explained, or explained too many times. Give the reader credit for understanding the story through background and dialogue.

10/69 tbr box 2015
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 46 47 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • The Lost Book of Mala R.
  • Minor Adjustments
  • Lucky Girl
  • From Vegas with Blood
  • And for Your Information… (Butterfly, #2)
  • Star Struck
  • Cat O' Nine Tails
  • Talking to the Dead
  • Confessions of a PTA Mafia Mom
  • No More Mr. Nice Guy
  • Good Graces
  • Secret Obsession
  • Diary of a Short Life
  • Beautifully Broken (#1)
  • What You Wish For
  • Minor Snobs
  • Abigail Dare
  • The Summer of Living Dangerously
The Last Best Kiss is now available at bookstores and online!

Here's the Booklist review: "Anna can’t help but be attracted to bright, offbeat, and totally uncool Finn. But what about those completely wrong clothes and the nerdy glasses? Eventually she breaks his heart, because, seriously, what would her friends say about such a klutzy guy? She is not without regret or guilt, though, even as Finn
More about Claire LaZebnik...

Share This Book